"..Thursday March 28th. 1940 ..Polish youth ..armed with clubs ..sticks ..make pogroms against ..Jews. ..Jews ..beaten and wounded. ..Jewish quarter ..abandoned to toughs and killers." Chaim A. Kaplan.
While there are many Polish non-Jews seeking the exact same answers also that we all are looking for in the detail of The Holocaust. With that in mind, we need to be aware that the Poles are not all guilty in the exacting circumstance of The Holocaust of the Jews of Europe. Many Poles are clearly reminded that some of their own did not act as all good human beings should have done. Some Poles are clearly concerned that the dialogue entered into is tempered by an anger directed toward them and this is wrong. Not one of the 3,000,000 or More Polish Jews would want any condemnation of anyone who did not participate, perpetrate or by omission, impose any penalty upon any Polish Jews during this time. For those Poles who became the betrayers of their neighbours and friends, all History is urged to name them. The World must still allow for Justice to detain them and we must authorise all accusation to rightly blame them.
"..no room for racism and anti-Semitism." Polish President Lech Kaczynski.
Lech Kaczynski presided between 2005 till 2010 and as he remarked in 2006, to commemorate the Kielce Mass Murders, which was to be the final straw for the Jewish presence in Poland, President Kaczynski knew the depth of hatred racism bred from antisemitism. For all other Polish citizens, we simply cannot discredit all of them for the deeds of some of them, no matter how many the some might be. We can see that the political will to stem the flow of Jewish blood was not in much evidence during the period 1939 till 1946 or even 1947, and many would suggest it continues today. Here too, the Polish church could have played a massive role in the prevention of 3,000,000 Polish Jews being Murdered in The Holocaust. That the 3 million other Poles who were killed and otherwise dead through Hitler's invention should have elicited a more robust form of disapproval. For Cardinal August Hlond, the primate of Poland of the time, he neither instilled the form of tolerance ‘christianity’ preached to all nor did he invoke the sympathy necessary to those for whom the attacks continually perpetrated were upon the Jews of Poland, christ’s People. In fact, this representative of christ even suggested the Jewish treatment was self inflicted, given the supposed and unproven Jewish attempts to convert Poland into a communist state. The bishop of Kielce for instance, Czeslaw Kaczmarek, went even further still and he then suggested that those of Kielce's Surviving Jews had sought out such a pogrom in order to force Britain's hand in turning over the mandated territory of Palestine to them.
"..Half a century after ..tragic Kielce events ..have left a bloody imprint on Polish-Jewish relations ..we owe ourselves words of truth and moral evaluation." Polish Prime Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz.
Between 1996 until 1997 the seeds of reform were being firmly planted and admissions of guilt resounded like no other apology before it. Perhaps here it is an appropriately suitable time too to remind ourselves that reprisal actions against Poles for harbouring Jews might mean their death, the death of their Families and or the destruction of their entire communities. So for balance, for truth and toward the integrity of The Holocaust, we must stop blaming all nationals for the deeds of those few nationals who did not act with any moral compass. No one should ever doubt that Poles, and in quite large numbers, gave their effort, diminished their lives and lost their limbs to secure a living space for Polish Jewry. However, that so many acted against these fine standards of humanity, and while their Jewish cousins were being obliterated, this will stand more accusingly as time goes by. We should not then diminish what was achieved by those gentle Poles who stuck their heads well and truly above the parapet and threw themselves so far down and into the lions mouth. Throughout The Holocaust term, there was significant protest and even rebellion amongst some Poles against what Hitler sought to achieve here against Polish Jewry, and the whole of Poland in its entirety.
PROTEST. August 11th. 1942.
"..The world looks at this atrocity, more horrible than anything ever seen in the annals – and stays silent. The slaughter of millions of unarmed individuals is committed in the midst of a widespread, ominous silence. The deathsmen remain silent, they do not gloat over what they have committed. Neither England nor America speak aloud, even the influential international community of Jews remains silent, yet so recently sensitive to each iota of harm to their own. The Poles also stay silent. The Polish political allies of Jews limit themselves to press releases; the Polish opponents of Jews demonstrate a lack of interest in a matter, which is foreign to them. The dying Jews are solely surrounded by Pilate’s washing their hands of any fault. This silence cannot be tolerated any longer. Whatever its motives they are despicable. In the face of crime, one cannot remain passive. Who remains silent in the face of slaughter becomes an enabler of the murderer. Who does not condemn then consents. Therefore, we gather our voices, we Catholic Poles. Our feelings towards Jews have not changed. We have not stopped considering them the political, economic and conceptual enemies of Poland. Additionally, we realise that they hate us more than the Germans, that they fault us for their demise. Why and on what basis remains the secret of the Jewish soul, nonetheless it is a fact and continuously confirmed. The consciousness of these feelings does not free us of the responsibility of condemning the crime. We do not wish to be Pilate’s. We do not have the ability to actively forestall the German slaughters, we cannot change anything, and save anyone, yet we protest from the depths of our hearts, which are encompassed with pity, indignation and anger. God requires this protest from us, God who does not allow murder. It is required of a Catholic conscience. Each being, calling itself human, has a right to brotherly love. The blood of the innocent calls for vengeance to the heavens. He, who does not support this protest is not Catholic. We also protest as Poles. We do not believe that Poles could take profit in the brutality of the Germans. Conversely. In the stubborn silence of international Jewry, in the efforts of German propaganda already attempting to discard the odium for the murder of Jews onto the Lithuanians and the Poles, we discern the seeds of an enemy action against us. We also know how poisonous the seeds of crime are. The compulsory participation of the Polish nation as observers of the bloody spectacle occurring on the lands of Poland, can cultivate an apathy to evil, sadism, and above all to the dangerous conviction that those who are close to us can be murdered with no retribution. He who does not understand this, who would wish to link a proud and sovereign future for Poland with this base glee in the misfortune of his brother is neither a Catholic, nor a Pole!" Zofia Kossak-Szczucka.
Do not forget also that Zofia Kossak-Szczucka was a mentor to Jan Karski and a close confidante of the this Polish person clearly identifiable as one who also sought to inform the World of what Hitler was achieving in Poland. While much has been written about der Einsatzgruppe following in after Hitler and the Wehrmacht assault on Russia, Poland endured these formative Einsatz kommandos, Operation ‘Tannenberg’ immediately upon the collapse of Poland September 28th. 1939. We cannot ever be ambiguous in search of the truth, it is either whole or it remains partly told, hidden or downright wrong. We cannot allow a lie to then lay dormant for its resurrection to seek to usurp the veracity of the truth that has been laid down by meticulous adherence to evidence, testimony and the statements of all those who can attribute a detail to the truth. We must never allow for the passage of time to conceal the truth and we should be ever vigilant against the seeds of suspicion and doubt, all of which breed a captive consciousness.
"..destruction of Poland is in ..foreground ..aim is ..elimination of living forces ..not ..arrival at a certain line. I shall give a propagandist cause for starting ..war ..never mind if it is plausible or not. ..victor will not be asked later on whether he told ..truth or not." Adolf Hitler.
We simply cannot allow ourselves to become complicit in the accusations to be aimed at those who were neither guilty nor negligent in their conduct toward the Jews of The Holocaust. To do so would be to deliver a posthumous travesty of Justice toward a body of People already denied each and every aspect of a Justice excluding them and we must not now misuse its namesake. To mete out Justice we must first be just and we must ensure that its delivery is aimed correctly at those deserving of our righteous indignation. Of course we can run out of superlatives for those who risked ALL for their Jewish counterpart in Poland and these are specifically the ones who saved Polish Jewish lives. So while we must never allow for our accusation to be swayed by distance nor time, it must be relayed accurately and only against those deserving of it. However, while I aim never to let anyone mistake the clear intention of Hitler was to systematically seek out the Jewish People, wherever they were, and have them slaughtered, he did not operate this intention in a vacuum or upon a landscape without all too many willing to assist.
"..first and foremost perpetrator was Adolf Hitler. ..without him it would have been inconceivable." Raul Hilberg.
With this well adjudged accusation standing before the mantle of The Holocaust, we then look toward all those either equally guilty or so deprived of human emotion, they ventured nothing to assist, aid or even save a single Jew. While it is evident that so many could have managed to save more of their neighbours who were Jews, it could have amounted to a few Jews or even Community’s of Jews. Now we direct our denunciation so as to deliver an appropriate charge against those we know are the guilty ones. However, for those who offered aid, and with an assured perpetration of the most horrendous crimes in all of History confronting every sense they had, these words of my remembrance are also accusatory. I share these words because I found them and have no wish to deny them venting the silence that would remain if they were not stated. Here, with this despoiling of Jewish antecedence, that was to be all too true even in Poland, more than 90% of Polish Judaism practically ceased to exist. It is clear that almost immediately after Hitler invaded Poland's sovereign status, on September 1st. 1939 3,000,000 Polish Jews would soon forfeit their very existence.
".. I ..like all ..Jews ..refused human rights ..doomed to ..a tragic end. At ..critical moment ..at Brody ..Walter Ukalo ..representing Wladyslawa Choms. ..offering us help ..false papers ..money. ..Some ..found accommodations at Mrs. Choms friends." Zygmunt Chotiner.
On December 4th. 1942, with the Jewish Aid Council 'Zegota' established, all manner of preparations should have commenced which would relieve all Jews from the terrible atrocity which continually confronted them. From this vantage point, Poland must never forget those who stood tallest in Polish society and did their utmost to relieve the strain of a battered Polish Jewry and managed to save a not insubstantial amount of them. To undermine the efforts of those who sought to achieve this moral righteousness is, in any attempt to bleach over the attempts by other’s to act with less charitable compassion, is to undermine such a moral effort. And while we recognise the efforts of Wladyslawa Choms to act with such devotion and humanity, it is clear other’s of her friends acted with similar accord. Pogroms of assault, and in excess of 1,800 Murders were invested in these, and the returning Jewish Survivor was scourged once more. Even we can never be certain that the figure arrived at is ever going to accurately articulate the tragedy for the Surviving Jews for what awaited them upon that Survival and with a hoped for return to their former homes.
"..apologies ..for 42 victims of ..1946 Kielce pogrom." Polish Foreign Minister Professor Dariusz Rosati.
A servant of the Polish people from 1995 till 1997 Professor Rosati was certain that an apology was so necessary, as the vested interest of greed and avarice, the perpetuating larceny from a traumatised ridden Jewish People persists. Those whose ownership of property’s and possessions was so widely coveted, came to the forefront of all and any consideration against them. Property’s and possessions which had not belonged to other than these Surviving Jews, or more likely those Jews who had not Survived, was converted into those ages old hatred’s of antisemitism. The fact too though, which still remains, is that when Polish community’s sought their own rage against the Surviving Jewish People, those Jews purely wishing to return to their home localities, and lick their wounds, this further atrocity occurred on a broader sweep of the Polish landscape than has been recognised. While this was all to be confronted by an assailing hatred that was to be so shocking to an almost terminally wounded Polish Jewish presence within Poland, the only recourse to the integrity of any Jew who had Survived was to see their future Survival elsewhere, and away from their Polish homeland.
"..From 1945 to 1946 ..more than 1,000 Jews were killed in various places by Poles ..taken off trains ..hunted down in small towns ..killed. ..I was one of those Jews on a train from Kielce to Ostrowiec when ..train stopped and hooligans entered to hunt for Jews. ..I hid my face ..so ..I speak ..and ..remember ..I was frightened to death." Kalman Sultanik.
Sultanik, as the President of Federation of Polish Jews in America and Vice President of the World Jewish Congress clearly identifies with his people and in places such as Biala-Podlaska, Bialystok, Bielawa, Boleslawiec, Bytom, Chelm, in Cracow where the district of Kaziemierz was under siege and the Kupa Synagogue burned, in Czestochowa, Dabrowa-Tarnowska, Diosgyor, Gniewoszow, Gniewczyna-Lancucka, Grodno and Groject, the Jewish Survivor was attacked and Murdered by those they had previously known. In Jedwabne, Kielce, Klementow, Kunmadaras, Lednica, Lodz, Losice, Lublin, Mordy, Opatow and Otwock, the picture for the Jewish Survivor was dark and bleak. In Parczew, Piaski, Polaniec, Przemysl, Pzeszow, Raciaz, Radom, Rava-Ruska, Rzeszow, Sanok, Skarzysko-Kamienna and Sompolno, the Jewish Survivor fared no better than under Hitler’s tutelage of a conclusive resolve to The Final Solution. In Sokoly, Sosnowiec, Szczecin, Tarnow, Turek, Warsaw and Wlodawa, the Jewish Survivor faced so much further assault so as to compound their near broken state, injury was inflicted deeper into their wounds and as they were Murdered by their former neighbours, a further chapter was being added to Hitler’s all encompassing demands raised against the Jews of Europe.
"..Mrs. Choms had to be careful not only of ..Gestapo but ..her neighbours of whom she could never be certain." Zygmunt Chotiner.
None of these former neighbours of course could be considered in any degree at all like Wladyslawa Choms or her Zegota representative to Brody, Walter Ukalo. There is sadly a proviso to this acknowledgement of Wladyslawa’s great charitableness, and it was her concern that she too might be betrayed, and by those who supposedly served nation first and Hitler, Never. Here is where a Polish President’s apology can prove essential in combating the forms of negation that the Polish influenced in the many cases that raged against the Jewish People. The Nazi presence in these Polish community’s had actually retreated in many instances, and as it was precipitously replaced by a millennia of old resurgent hatred’s, Jews were singled out for having Survived what Hitler fully intended for them, which included for them not to have Survived. In some of these Community’s identified here, these Murdered Jews had already Survived what Hitler had fully resolved for them and in spaces clearly within earshot of those same Poles who strode along and bypassed all human concern for their Jewish neighbours, soon turned their own intentions toward and against the homecoming Jewish Survivor.
"..This was a particularly cruel crime. It was justified by nothing. ..victims were helpless and defenceless. For this crime ..we should beg ..souls of ..dead and their families for forgiveness. This is why today ..as a citizen and as president of ..Republic of Poland ..I apologise." Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski.
From 1995 till 2005 Aleksander Kwasniewski served Poland as its President and recognised clearly the essential need to apologise not only for the loss of 3,000,000 intentionally Murdered Jews, but for the complicit connivance of those Poles who assisted in the overall resolve to achieve Hitler’s Final Solution. While it is important to Remember what happened to the Jews who managed to Survive, it is doubly important to lay the blame for their destruction upon those specifically guilty of doing so. This does not allow for any blanket accusation against anyone who did not, would not nor could not have competed with the terms for annihilation Hitler presented them with. While this President of the Polish Republic apologises for what was committed during Hitler’s onslaught against the Jewish People, it is also essential we conduct ourselves with integrity related to those crimes committed by Polish people against their fellow Jewish Poles. As these Polish Survivor Jews returned to their former homes, in the hope of healing their bitter memories and the inflicted wounds of hatred, all they felt from their former neighbours or even friends was that same resentment. Surely the hatred from those who did not wish to return what had previously belonged to the returning Jewish owner seared the hearts of those Jews.
"..All of Poland was rife with anti-Semitism." Rubin Offenbach.
For all too many of the non-Jewish Poles, who could not quite understand how any Jews had Survived, the reality of Jewish Survival was a shock to their now formed ownership of what did not belong to them. Here in that place called Jedwabne for instance, it was apparent that where more than 340 Jews of the Town and were driven into a barn and burned alive. Such was this case for which Hitler had left an indelible mark upon the non-Jewish Pole, and it heightened and reverberated with the Polish often seen and brutally offensive antisemitic resonance. The blame for any atrocity against the Polish Jews, which had formerly fallen upon those Nazi’s of the occupation, and for years, this was the accepted account, can no longer remain unequivocally so. While it is true that the main protagonist’s to the Jedwabne Massacre in particular were compiled of the local people, and while the instigators were indefatigably German, such an orchestration of hatred was fully a Polish expression. This expression would seethe through Polish nationality for the next few years, undaunted and murderous in its detail.
"..Polish public was rife with elements that exposed Jews and turned them in to ..Nazi’s ..gangs of ‘szmalcownik’ ..Polish blackmailers ..bane of Jews in hiding." Israel Gutman.
So those who immersed themselves in this particular Jedwabne atrocity were not exclusively German or even Nazi, though cut from the same cloth. Even a man like Jan Karski, whose presence in the midst of the Polish Jewish atrocity and on the fringes of Polish resistance to The Holocaust, he will clearly inform us of Poles who are forced to deal in the retribution of their own people. For those Polish traitors and informers who acted even toward their own Polish non-Jewish community, there was a constant and continuous confrontation. Here too though, Professor Gutman had to qualify the fact that while some betrayed their own conscience in delivering Jews to Hitler’s intention for them, the many Jews who in fact Survived owe that reality to some very courageous Polish non-Jews who did not act without conscience or moral probity. Many such Poles, and their names are well known to us, leave behind a legacy which includes many unknown who acted likewise. However, this does not accuse anybody who should not be charged with collaboration. For those specific Poles who colluded alongside the efforts of the Nazi's, these are as guilty as if they had adorned the very Nazi regalia of Hitler’s forward echelons or rear guard phalanx.
"..Germans could not tell ..Jews apart from ..other Polish soldiers. ..depended on ..Poles to tell them that." Shep Zitler.
Such was the interconnecting theme of cooperation, it was often the case that the Jewish Community might have escaped German attention had it not been for Polish identification of them. Many of these Poles who colluded with Hitler’s aim for The Final Solution and who were on hand to ensure that any information which was gained to benefit any of Hitler's wants from the errant Polish State, these are the Poles we are roundly accusing. In viewing the very landscape of The Holocaust, there can be no discoloration of the very truth which has painted it. As there can be no History which is not truthful, any form of distortion cannot be allowed to prevail which would shade that truth. There is erected in Jedwabne now, a newly erected Monument which seeks to memorialise those Jews of the Community who were Murdered. It is there also to remember the very fact of what occurred there and also to express a regret for what surely happened. None of this can then be denied or absolved from the accusation of all History, and should be remembered so that those credited with Righteous status are recognised for so doing the right thing it too becomes an accusation of what is wrong.
"..In memory of ..Jews of Jedwabne and surrounding areas ..men ..women ..children ..fellow dwellers of this land ..murdered and burned alive at this site on 10 July 1941."
Throughout The Holocaust realm, as we move from such sites as Jedwabne and Sokoly, and we visit not just places and community’s where atrocities were piled high upon the Jews who once resided there, we have a system of these 6 Death Camps that Hitler had built in German Occupied Poland to ensure atrocity was piled ever higher upon atrocity. As we know for certain that there were numerous other Camps dotted around all Poland, in which all manner of assistance was delivered by many Poles, History expects a regret as to what local Poles also achieved in and around The Death Camps. All cooperation, which finally led toward Hitler’s final resolve to Murder all the Jews of Europe, must not be exempting of an atrocity exerted or attributed to local Polish citizenry. Specifically though, and in these particularly Camps designated as Death Camps, and there were only 6 such locations in the whole of Hitler’s Reich, these were placed firmly in Poland and have become entrenched in the psyche of both the Polish Jewish and Polish non-Jewish Peoples.
"..We are all obliged to remember these heroic people ..Righteous Among Nations but we must not allow their heroism to cover ..crimes and wickedness of a much larger group of Poles. Antisemitism was and remains endemic in our country." Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz.
As a Prime Minister 1996 till 1997, Cimoszewicz recognised the plaudits which fell upon those who were Righteous and as they served to reflect what is best in any society, the issue of those who were not so diligent in their moral probity must be exposed. It must be a considered fact here that a distinction must be made in which, a system which Hitler created, is delivered away from the immediate Reich and was done within Poland for obvious reasons. Where these 6 Death Camps dealt exclusively in the destructive capacity to annihilate the Jews sent there, the Final Solution which had put them in place had its final resolve in Poland largely, and in many other nations also. But these 6 Death Camps were Hitler’s Death Camps. They were erected by organs of Hitler’s Reich for the eventual resolve and resolution of Hitler’s Final Solution. The shift of emphasis here, and taking the Jewish European People away from Reich territory was a deliberate attempt to not only contaminate the lands of Poland with the blood of Polish Jewry ostensibly, but with the combined weight of all of European Jewry finally being resettled, also to be evacuated and to be finally confined there.
"..My parents just walked out of our apartment ..and that was it. ..Since then ..I've thought material possessions don't mean anything." Bianca Lerner.
History has clearly acknowledged that there is no such thing as a Polish Death Camp and so the term, Polish ‘death camps’ has to be seen as an attempt by apologist’s for Hitler’s Jewish blood letting. I have revisited many times the origins of this assertion concerning these Death Camps and know that Gerard Reitlinger made it a statement with a geographical face. But they have always been conceived of in History, and indeed were always Hitler’s Death Camps, so we have no need to confuse this fact. The effort though, to clearly shift the intention away from Hitler, who actually sought to fully effect the spoiling of Polish lands with the blood of the European Jews, has been the right of the Polish Government to respond to. For this contamination of The Holocaust intention cannot therefore allow for anything other than the affirmation of Hitler’s guilt. Clearly, in both Auschwitz and Majdanek, while some of these Jewish People were afforded a temporary reprieve and given forced labour, at least until they could work no longer, the term applied to all 6 of these Death Camp’s still speaks specifically of Hitler’s final intention.
"..flames could be seen from 15 or 20 kilometres ..people knew ..human beings were being burned there." Adolf Bartelmes.
At Auschwitz, those Jews who were transferred to nearby Birkenau, and who had reached the end of the line, the final moments of their existence was treated both methodically and mechanically. Those Jews remaining behind however and within Auschwitz were left to face a debilitating existence which would severely limit their ability to survive. Given the short distance from Auschwitz itself, the efforts at Birkenau would be clearly visible as a local Polish rail worker has clearly noted. But the clear intention always was to create an uncertainty related to Hitler’s so cruelly chosen place for Poland in being the Jewish Cemetery of the World. That is what is at stake and it is necessary to confront that clearest of intentions here. Once the term of Polish ‘death camps’ had been constructed however, and it must be recognised that it is an illegitimate attempt to shift the emphasis of Hitler’s clear policy for The Final Solution, the term must be stricken from the conscious assurance that is given over to the veracity of all Holocaust literature, statements and their intentions.
"..I saw them shooting people. ..transport children and parents ..knock a child against ..wall. ..What ..Germans ..did was not right ..I revolted. I tried to help everyone in whatever way I could." Walter Ukalo.
The attempt to move any and all accusation away from Hitler, Germany and those Nazi’s who were obsessed and predicated on delivering for Hitler all that he demanded of them, must be returned to its rightful owner, the originator of The Final Solution, Hitler. Of course the term of Polish ‘death camp’ itself has vented its way into The Holocaust term, its description however incorrectly states an error and needs to be replaced by a more tangible meaning! We can never allow for the deliberately orchestrated attempt to negate the fundamental severity by which Hitler sought to destroy all of European Jewry, and mainly within Poland to escape him. That said, and given the clear cut statements of so many who witnessed first hand the close liaison between some in Polish society, it is clear Hitler had chosen Poland for the specific purpose of destroying all of European Jewry, and with as much assistance as the awareness of Polish antisemitism could avail of and was to be obtained.
"..attitude of ..non–Jewish population ..almost all Poles ..was hateful. They rejoiced at our misfortune ..enriched themselves with Jewish property." Betzalel Papial.
As the usage of ‘polish’ Death Camp as a term lends itself as such incorrectly to what Auschwitz and Birkenau, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor and Treblinka must insist, we take back its fullest meaning in the context of Hitler’s proper intention. And that is a simple fact that while these Camps were indeed on Polish soil, they were the initial construct of Hitler, the development of Hitler’s invasive and murderous regime and established purely to Murder the Jews of Poland and the rest of Europe. Previously, I have clearly been at fault in this use of the term, but never in asserting other than these Death Camps were Hitler owned though geographically placed within Poland. The distinction has been so obviously made, that in the level of mechanised and systematic destruction of the Jewish People, for which these Death Camps were raised in Poland, they are of an entirely Hitlerian construct with no ambiguity. While the Polish Government has every right to be affronted by anyone who might insist that, with other than their geographical placement, The Death Camps are in Poland, and there were 6 of these, they were other than an organ of Hitler’s criminal Reich. That fundamentally means that these Death Camps had their genesis with Hitler and none other than Hitler.
"..Jewish population ..living under ..impact of news from London. ..world has been stirred by ..reports of ..slaughter in Poland ..aroused ..deepest emotions in all of us. For many ..many months ..endured ..most terrible sufferings ..asking ourselves ..Does ..world know about our sufferings ..if it knows ..why is it silent. Why was ..world not outraged 10's of 1,000's of Jews ..shot ..at Ponary. ..10's of 1,000's of Jews poisoned in Chelmno. 100's of 1,000's of Jews ..slaughtered in Galicia. ..slaughter in Vilna ..180,000 ..in Rostov ..Jews ..murdered ..in Kiev. ..blood is flowing in rivers. Is ..blood of ..Jews more precious. ..Only now have we come to understand ..cause of this silence. ..Polish government ..its own radio station .knew nothing about it. ..if London knew ..next day 100 people ..shot ..Pawiak prison ..why ..did it take many months before they learned of ..100's of 1,000's murdered Jews. ..a question which cannot be turned away by excuses!" Emanuel Ringelblum.
That these Death Camps were manufactured under Hitler’s approval, and as they were conducted for the mass Slaughter of Human Beings, because they were Jewish, they were clearly ordained and demanded by Hitler. This is not to say either that Jews alone were Murdered within these Camps and Death Camps, or indeed were alone in being assailed by Hitler’s legions. As Hitler and his Wehrmacht, SS, Gestapo, Waffen SS, der Einsatzgruppe and all other arms of Hitler’s Reich traversed the length and breadth of Europe, any presence of Jews was quarterised from their local community’s, and those other’s for whom Hitler might have the slightest annoyance for, they too suffered greatly. The Jews of Europe were then force fed toward Poland and their eventual decapitation from the body of existence was made final. Here, evidence of that Fact has been reduced to an irreducible truth, Hitler is the cause, the motivating force and was enveloped in the conclusive hatred that led 6,000,000 Jews toward destruction. Within that capacity to Slaughter human beings, without human concern, it is understood that:
"..While not all ..victims of ..Nazi's were Jews ..all Jews were victims." Elie Wiesel.
When that is all said and done, the Jews of Europe became the victims of everyone’s fears, prejudices and hatred’s. History cannot then ever deny that it was expressly for Hitler a priority so as to destroy the entire antecedence of all Jewish existence. That some of these hatred’s and fears, and the bias of prejudice was engaged by many of the nationalities whose Jews were expelled and totally destroyed, there can be no denying that the Slaughter was meant to be a final stroke. That any Jewish presence from amongst the Jewish People might escape Hitler’s final goal is clearly out of the question. It is with the Jewish Faith which Hitler determined must be singularly sought out, and for all those who participated or proscribed any form of Judaism, and that they were all to be destroyed. That statement of fact too is proven, for as many converts who chose to move away from their Judaism and Jewish antecedence were dragged back into the conflagration simply on the pretext and certainty of their Jewish descent.
"..As a child of ..Jewish people who ..by ..grace of God ..for ..past 11 years has also been a child of ..Catholic Church ..I dare to speak to ..Father of Christianity about that which oppresses 1,000,000's of Germans. For weeks we have seen deeds perpetrated in Germany which mock any sense of justice and humanity ..not to mention love of neighbour. For years ..leaders of National Socialism have been preaching hatred of ..Jews. But ..responsibility must fall ..after all ..on those who brought them to this point and it also falls on those who keep silent in ..face of such happenings. Everything that happened and continues to happen on a daily basis originates with a government that calls itself 'Christian.' For weeks not only Jews but also 1,000's of faithful Catholics in Germany ..and ..I believe ..all over ..world ..have been waiting and hoping for ..Church of Christ to raise its voice to put a stop to this abuse of Christ's name." Edith Stein,
As a some what lapsed catholic, I am all too well aware that the sainthood imposed upon a person is both reverential and special within the Catholic Church. But for me, it is incumbent upon those denoting saintliness and warranting the sainthood of anyone, that the importance attributed to them is in stressing the reason of that ordaining position. For me, Edith Stein, while she was a remarkably reverent and theological Christian, her Murder at the hands of Hitler and his Reich was due in no uncertain to her status as a Jew. This certainty for her Murder was not for her former status as a Jew, but for that very proclivity under Hitler which sought the fullest identification of a Jew as a Jew and which belonged to a Jew. This ordination of identity would remain with the Jewish People until the Jewish People had been fully destroyed by Hitler. Here, and what I have often found in the denial lobby is a very inarticulate distortion to claim what just is not so. Even when, in Edith’s case, the denier clearly sees her Jewish status first and foremost, they will still deny or attribute her destruction to Hitler and before acknowledging his antisemitic hatred.
"..Everything was taken away from me ..even my name." Rubin Offenbach.
Nor is it possible from this particular time span to future proof an atrocity because of the hatred for a Jewish People. In the case of The Holocaust, 6,000,000 Jews of Europe were destroyed and it appears to be a continuous issue for all manner of haters, antisemites and various other miscreants. As they look to present day Israel to seek a past justification, we recognise the colour of their denial. For all the wrongly inarticulate reasons, and so that deniers can state the cause of their extremist hatred, from within the Palestinian issue for instance, they do so to justify their own antisemitism. Where the lands of the State of Israel and its People are to be fought over, an irreverence to the factual truth that these 6,000,000 Jews were Murdered is to be so causally denied. Not withstanding this form of negation, there is a link with anything that gives rise to those who will seek any doubt to issue a blanket rebuttal of the entire truth. It is apparent to me, in the attempt by this present Polish Government to redirect historical attention away from the not insufficient Polish collaboration in the midst of The Holocaust, more can be gained by the denier than it would seem the veracity of History has to surely gain.
"..When ..Poles saw how ..soldiers were victimising us they piled on ..too. ..a German guard was marching me ..some other men to ..nail factory. ..a Polish boy ran up ..stabbed me in ..hand." William Schiff.
What no one can refute is the truth and what no one debates is The Holocaust. That factual truth of the Slaughter of 6,000,000 Jews in The Holocaust is no more debatable than the very fact of our own existence. For the Polish position, which should clearly point to cases where Poles were instrumental in the identification of Jews for abuse, atrocity and their eventual destruction, the academic World cannot simply accept an attempt which might conspire to corrupt our past any further. The Polish position does warrant a response and as they have made the case in defence of their forebears, it should be stressed that 3,000,000 Polish Jews do not have this luxury of response. Nor do any of those Jews who were transported into Poland, to be resettled by Hitler’s own hate filled volition, so as to face complete annihilation, they have been denied to any future hearing. It is without doubt the whole assertion, and that any attempt to then obliterate these Polish Jews and the Jews of Europe from all existence, this is all Hitler’s doing. The Polish position though is thus:
"..It wasn’t our mothers ..nor our fathers ..who are responsible for ..crimes of ..Holocaust ..which were committed by German and Nazi criminals on occupied Polish territory. Our responsibility is to defend ..truth and dignity of ..Polish State and ..Polish Nation ..as well as our Fathers ..our Mothers ..our Grandparents." Polish Justice Minister Zbignew Ziobro.
Zbignew Ziobro, who does not seek to distinguish his Country’s record in upholding the truth in its entirety. Should the need to recall what is Remembered, that it is never to be Forgotten and what we will not Forget, all History will Remember what was done in achieving 6,000,000 Murdered Jews of Europe. These Jews, who are The Holocaust, expect nothing less than that fullest commitment. While it is most certainly true that many of the parents of Poland, and even the grandparents of Poland were of the Jewish Faith, these were not offered the full and requisite protection of the Polish State. Nor, from all of those Poles, within the Polish Nation of the time, who could not ensure the capacity of life to the Jews, Polish Jews knew all too well there were many non-Jewish Poles who could not be counted upon either.
"..Ladies ..Gentlemen ..on ..basis of accurate investigation ..we have determined ..truth about your Semitic origins. In view of ..above ..we request that you deliver to ..bearer of this note ..sum of 2,000 zlotys in a sealed envelope. ..In return ..we will destroy ..incriminating evidence that is in our possession. Otherwise ..we will immediately hand over ..evidence to ..German authorities." Ewald Reiman.
Truth and dignity must be bestowed where Truth and Dignity belongs, and as with those Poles who assisted and aided, and for those Poles who helped and hid those Jews they either knew or did not know, theirs was a matter of moral and human conscience. It is fair to state, that while those who are proven Righteous before the World, there are those who have been proven culpable and complicit in the Crimes of The Holocaust. These must be clearly identified, even if they are Polish. However, I fully agree with the Polish position which sees rightly that within Hitler’s orchestrated assault and the subsequent Nazi occupation of Poland, it was Hitler who drove the frenzy of annihilation forward.
"..For all I knew ..I could be out ..back door ..they out ..front ..running to ..police ..to tell them ..Jews had returned to Buczacz. You never knew if a neighbour was about to turn on you ..plenty had." Alicia Appleman-Jurman.
That said we cannot then deny the use made of Polish informants, Polish Police, Railroad workers and others who were instrumental in the containment and distribution of Polish Jewry toward these Killing Centres. While it is necessary to ensure that former Nazi's are not allowed to deflect their substantial perpetration and participation in the annihilation of the Jews on Polish soil, it should not be considered that Poles had no part in the tragedy at all. To observe the truth one must know what it is one is looking for. So while German knowledge of Polish Jewry had a reliance upon the well established antisemitic and fraught and difficult inter relationship between Poles and Jews, and the somewhat intuitive recognition of Polish Jews, this effort was collaborative. That antisemitism within Poland had existed between Poles and Jews for millennia, it must be made clear that Poles identified Jews and Poles were certainly paid to do so. Poles have since plundered the possessions of the Jewish Slaughter and to this day they retain what ostensibly remains stolen. In any religious context, no established religious basis can be given to the continued gain from any previous theft
"..no way out ..Gestapo was making ready to deport ..Jews. I had to return to ..labour camp. At ..railway station I presented my travel pass ..but ..Polish policeman ignored it and took me to ..gathering area in Rabka. I saw my family there ..along with ..others we were divided up by Rosenbaum. I found myself in a special group of 4 ..a man named Shaut a tinsmith ..Yehiel Tirk a mechanic ..Finkelstein a locksmith ..I ..an electrician ..fourth. We were put to work on maintenance of ..target practice range. On Yom Kippur Eve 1942 ..four of us were taken to a spot where 30 Jews were to be executed for failing to report for ..deportation. ..Germans shot them. Next to ..pit stood a barrel of lime. ..four of us were ordered to pour lime on ..corpses and cover ..pit with earth. All ..possessions of ..Jews were taken to a large warehouse for sorting and refurbishing." Hirsch Schiffeldrin.
Clearly, Poles hid Jews and understandably, those Poles who took an enormous risk in denying Hitler any assistance in claiming even more Jewish lives, these Poles are commendable. But the one altruistic position only adds as a counter weight to the atrocious enabling of Hitler’s murderer’s to achieve their end goal. What cannot be denied either is that some Polish priests led this charge with their vitriole and assisted in a more acute and enabling way toward Jewish destruction. A Polish ministry that was steeped in any form of antisemitism, that is in contravention of the priesthood’s ethical, moral and Christian duty, cannot escape the accusation of complicity in a duplicitous manner. In Christ’s name the Christian commandment is to 'Love thy Neighbour as thy self' and with this requirement, all too many of these priests failed to do so.
"..killing was perpetuated by hoodlums. ..what about ..soldiers who ..took part. ..what about ..others ..onlookers ..bystanders. ..history of ..Polish people is filled with suffering and glory ..Be worthy of that history ..citizens of Poland. ..face ..recent past which is also yours. To forget is to choose dishonour." Elie Wiesel.
The collaborative, antisemitic remonstrations are the scenes which are repeated the length and breadth of Hitler’s Final Solution in Poland. In so many sites, camps and Death Camps the evidence of a systematic hatred is brought to bear. The depiction’s of what has emanated from within Poland, this also share’s the concerted nature of that widespread atrocity that Hitler had sought. By 1943, some 16,000 Polish police officers, some of them armed, served under the Germans authority. While this is not in dispute, there are many who point to Vichy collaboration as defining what does not allow for this to be Polish collusion in any way.
"..before ..uprising in Sobibor I and three other SS men and a larger group of Ukrainians auxiliaries were again ordered to go to Belzec. We were doing forestation work there. We had to prevent ..Poles from turning ..whole area upside down in their searches for gold." Heinrich Unverhau.
It has to be commented upon, that whatever some Poles did in not assisting the Jews, there are many more Poles who are to be commended for doing so much to assist their Jewish neighbours. These Jewish neighbours were under direct threat and under the direst intimidation to their own lives and the lives of their Family’s along with those Jews they might have assisted. Of course, Poland was first nation to feel the effects of World War II as Hitler's invading Armies crushed all Polish Resistance and within a matter of days. As the assault rang out on September 1st. 1939, for the Jews of Cities, Towns, Villages and Shtetl's, they were now forced to live through those initial days, alarmed and even terrified by the threats Hitler had already testified to. Sporadic attacks on Jewish community's were widespread and on September 2nd. 1939 there were some 30 Jews of Piotrkow who were Murdered. But this was only the very beginning as the plunder of Jewish existence and all other value was orchestrated on a massive and co-ordinated scale.
"..I remember ..visit of Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler in Sobibor. All ..SS men ..members of ..police ..Ukrainian volunteers ..lined up in a parade. ..reported my platoon to Himmler for inspection. ..on ..day when Himmler was in Sobibor a certain number of Jews was gassed. I can tell for sure that Himmler visited Camp lll ..extermination area. I saw Himmler with ..whole group going in ..direction of Camp III." SS Oberscharfuhrer Hubert Gomerski.
The following day, September 3rd. 1939 some 180 of Czestochowa's Jews were murdered as were 17 of Wieruszow's Jews, 4 of Lelow’s Jews and 3 of Zdunska Wola's Jews. All murdered as a consequence of birth, antecedence and progeny and even before we enlist the terms of Hitler’s Final Solution to understand the fate set aside for the Jews of Poland, Europe and World Jewry. Meanwhile the tempo of the atrocity increased with such intensity that when Russia enjoined the conflict on September 17th. 1939, and as 20 of Laskarzew's Jews are murdered, Jewish hope had all but dwindled and died. As Russia moves to occupy most of Eastern Poland, with this Hitler pact and without any formal declaration of War, Jewish life East of the divide settled into a bearable routine. Towns then enjoyed a relative quiet as the population gradually adjusted to a less volatile Russian influence in this Eastern sector of Poland. It was a different story under Nazi control though as pogroms and assaults upon the integrity of the Jewish Community continued, and in the Western sector of Poland, it was a continual threat to be a Polish Jew.
"..war with ..Soviet Union has ..created ..possibility of disposing of other territories for ..Final Solution. ..Fuhrer has decided ..Jews should be evacuated ..East. ..Madagascar ..no longer ..considered in connection with Final Solution." Franz Rademacher.
The German Reich Foreign Office Department Chief was equal to any task related to the Jewish People during the period of The Holocaust, in all manner of creative ways so as to please his fuhrer. As the tempo once again altered though, and all of this pretext for Lebensraum changed again, when on June 22nd. 1941 Hitler turned against his erstwhile ally and Barbarossa was launched against Russia, any geographical aim became an annihilatory one for the Jews. The military forces of Stalin and close on 12,000,000 Jews were under immediate threat. Of course the move into Eastern Poland was rapid, German killing agents sucked into the void and what descended upon those Jewish Communities was unbridled hatred. These Jews, who had so far suffered fewer ill effects from the partition of Poland, up to that point, it all now went toward the unimaginable cruelties that had been systematic for the Jewish People West of that divide. The impoverished Jews of Eastern Poland now became the decimated Jews of all of Poland.
"..heroism of those who risked their lives to hide Jews from ..Nazis .and did so despite ..pressure exerted on them from their relatives and neighbours." Jan Grabowski.
The dying Jews all over Poland, who had suffered the iniquities of an abandonment unprecedented in its nature and deadly in its execution, languished in certain knowledge that their time had been clearly fixed. There was an agenda of destruction that had now commenced, it had been rehearsed ever since Hitler took power and without subtlety and with a forceful direction, 10’s of Murdered Jews became 1,000’s of Murdered Jews and increasingly, 10’s of 1,000’s of Jews on a daily basis. Immediately, as an avalanche of anti Jewish assault fell upon all of these Jewish Community’s, any opportunity for escape, which formerly had not existed for the 1,000,000’s of Polish and East European Jewry, was completely cut off from them. Whether Jews felt attacks randomly, or with a sense that some form of collective aggression had breached all civilised restraint, the assault against them stretched across all the Jews of Poland and now Western Russia.
"..arrived ..report to Camp Kommandant ..SS Hauptsturmfuhrer Bothmann. ..addressed us in his living quarters ..in ..presence of SS Untersturmfuhrer Albert Plate. ..explained ..we had been dedicated to ..Kulmhof extermination camp as guards and added that in this camp ..plague boils of humanity ..Jews ..were exterminated. We were to keep quiet about everything we saw or heard ..otherwise we would have to reckon with our families' imprisonment and ..death penalty. ..extermination camp was made up of ..'castle' and ..camp in ..woods. ..castle was a fairly large stone building at ..edge of ..village of Kulmhof. ..Jews ..transported by lorry or railway were first brought. ..lorry arrived ..following members of ..SS Sonderkommando addressed ..Jews ..Camp Kommandant Bothmann ..Untersturmfuhrer Albert Plate ..Polizei Meister Willy Lenz ..Polizei Meister Alois Haeberle. ..explained to ..Jews ..would ..all be given a bath ..deloused in Kulmhof ..then sent to Germany to work. ..Jews then went inside ..castle. ..to get undressed. ..sent through a passage ..to ..ramp to ..castle yard where 'gas van' ..parked. ..back door of ..van would be open. ..Jews ..made to get inside ..van. ..done by three Poles. ..Poles hit ..Jews with whips if they did not get into ..gas vans fast enough. When all ..Jews were inside ..door was bolted. ..driver then switched on ..engine ..crawled under ..van ..connected ..pipe from ..exhaust to ..inside of ..van. ..exhaust fumes ..poured into ..truck so that ..people ..suffocated." Polizei Theodor Malzmueller.
However, much of this newer assault was driven by the local Polish population who had taken over the administrative power from the fleeing Russian's in the East of Poland. The Policing of these areas now continued as before, with supervised and even independently acting Polish police forces enforcing German anti-Jewish legislation. These Eastern regions began their own torture and brutal repression of their now former Jewish neighbours, and in concert with an all consuming and long held detestation for the Jewish People, further motivated by Hitler’s own hatred the assault became an unhinged factor in Polish Jewish relations. The story has been told and it has been well written and documented, but with such a systematic reign of violence against frightened, innocent and seemingly helpless Jewish People, the attacks became an unrelenting prelude toward the total destruction of all Jewry. Entire Jewish Community’s in the entire Polish Country, more than 3,000,000 Jewish Men, Women and Their Children now fell under this catastrophic yoke of oppression. While it was fixed by Hitler's influence, it fed through all too often to some in the Polish administration, and to community’s who took refuge in this detailed assault for them to deliver their own injustices and against their own Polish Jewish neighbours. The accusation of History therefore does not stop at just a few local antisemitic, though ignorant Poles either. It signifies a connivance with the tenets of Hitler’s resolve to destroy all Jews wherever they were found, even if the programme had not been filtered down to Polish militia or Polish police forces.
"..How can we expect fate to let a righteous cause prevail when there is hardly anyone who will give himself up undividedly to a righteous cause." Sophie Scholl.
Before Hitler's move toward the programme for his Final Solution in Poland, almost any murder of the Polish Jews could be attributed to Polish excess. Even from amongst the local priest's and the so called intelligentsia, pogroms unleashed against the Jews had less of an unintelligent lead. Many Jews were ritually abused and were forced to shave off their beards and remove all identifying artefacts of their Jewish Faith. Those who barely clung onto life were forced to endure unspeakable torments, merciless torture, physical restraint and an immoral degradation of their basic humanitarian rights. Polish Council's too took liberty to daily harangue and expropriate what was not theirs. Many Poles took stock of what Jewish Citizens would now forfeit, began to enrich their own existence. Until a time came when Hitler's control loosened the slip knot, and the Jewish People assumed their Survival, a stillness went before the newer storm that soon arrived. With a well vented fury recognises and that history still reels from The Holocaust, more deliberate destruction is piled high upon Jewish expectancy.
"..Polish militia police began to expel Jews from their apartments. ..shop owners and craftsmen were not far behind them. Farmers forcefully entered Jewish shops ..homes ..restaurants ..and cafes. After they drove out ..owners ..they stole ..equipment and possessions." Michael Maik.
What Hitler perpetrated here in Europe, though largely within Poland, has been fundamentally shown to have exposed the latent genocidal tendencies of human beings who sought to excel where atrocity leads. With that in mind, Poland owes to its own History that certainty which composes a rightful telling of the truth. For the fact of its veracity, Poland needs to ensure History is correct. Poland has to lead the way forward for the Jews of the World to ensure memory of the catastrophe is never to be forgotten. In places like the Death Camps, Polish soil is running deep with the blood, and not only of innocent European and Polish Jewry but of many other’s, Polish non-Jews included. While that fact remains, it is important that Poland seeks to identify the blood of those interred there on their soil and also, that the attributing accusation for all of those who ensured the blood which saturated the Polish ground, was Jewish blood, that clear fact is to be recognised. What do we suppose the Polish conscripts assaults amounted to as they raged against the many Polish Jews, assailed during the Easter of 1940's Warsaw.
"..We were warned by ..gentile friends that ..Polish underground was coming to kill Jewish Survivors. They did not want to return ..houses ..businesses ..Jews left behind. We had to leave town again." Rubin Offenbach.
Rubin Offenbach, who hailed from Sompolno, Poland where on February 4th. 1942 the Jewish existence in the Town was liquidated, was further abandoned by his former community upon his brief return. So by the time the Polish Jews emerged from The Death Camps, from the hiding spaces they had languished in after escaping the Killing Sites, or emerging from the back of cupboards and wells afforded them by Polish gentiles, nothing prepared these Survivor's for what some of their former Neighbours would then inflict upon them. As returning Polish Jews encountered such a wave of violence, they feared what had been left behind, with the defeat of Hitler, had returned to finish what Hitler had commenced. This was not the end of the Jewish nightmare, but the beginning of the end for a very strong Jewish presence wishing to stay, or having Survived what no human being should have been forced to endure, sought to heal their wounds in their homes within Poland.
"..For many parts of ..Polish society it is very difficult ..since for decades they were victims themselves ..of ..Nazis. ..countries around Poland ..Ukraine ..Baltic States ..same level of public debate about their relationship with their own Jewish minority." Jan Grabowski.
It will be clearly seen that with 30 or so Polish Jews leaving Poland daily in the immediate aftermath of The Holocaust, this rather conservative figure soon escalated to a complete erosion of all Jewish presence. After Pogroms began to beset those Surviving Jews attempting to return to their former lives, Survival appeared such a callous friend. Perhaps as late as 1946, even after many of the sustained attacks upon these Jews seeking normality, hatred all too easily raised its ugly head again. For these Jews, who had survived so much in order to relay to the rest of us the detail of an atrocity few could ever have imagined, these Surviving Jews were placed under constant threat once again. Between July and September 1946 alone, with a total of some 65,000 Jewish Survivors who felt compelled to leave, fled Poland for good.
"..Nazis were responsible for this tragedy it is they who murdered most of 3,000,000 Jews who lived in Poland before World War II. ..Germans were able to mobilise segments of ..Polish society to take part in their plan to hunt down ..Jews and help them carry out their Final Solution." Jan Grabowski.
We know from here, the catalyst for this Survivoral exodus was the mass murder of 42 Jews of Kielce by their own Polish neighbours. What had distinguished this particular atrocity from the random and even sustained attacks throughout the Country, had a very strong German flavour, and almost influenced methodology. All told, the pogroms, which fully led to the amassed murder of some 1,800 Polish Surviving Jews, with what was the sheer scale of the atrocity and the attachment to it of a once more reiterated 'blood libel' accusation, few Jews felt they could remain alive within Poland. But before we reach this climax in Polish hatred for the Surviving Jew, we have to recognise that the survival of the Polish Jewish Community had not been guaranteed, even as Hitler's flawed legions were being expelled from Polish district after Polish district all the way back to Germany.
Atrocity assailed Jews in every corner of Poland, returning Jews in Biala-Podlaska, with 2 Jews Murdered, could not have suffered so much that they faced once more the neighbourly antisemitism of rural Poland. In Boleslawiec where 8 Jews were Killed and in Chelm, where the first such blood libel was regurgitated during the spring of 1945, was orchestrated by the Polish militia who tortured Jews for not having behaved as the terms of the blood libel had suggested they had. In Dabrowa-Tarnowska, Cracow, Diosgyor, Gniewoszow, Gniewczyna-Lancucka, Grodno and Grojec, the assaults and brutalisation continued. In Jedwabne, and the issue over the slaughter here is a hotly contested one, with all too many seeking to discriminate in favour of those who were the real antagonists and perpetrators in this Murder
"..burning alive of ..Jewish population, forcibly herded by Poles into a barn ..is indisputable." Cardinal Josef Glemp.
On March 4th. 2001 Glemp clearly acknowledged that it had been the Poles who had ‘forcibly herded’ their Jewish neighbours into the barn and set it alight. In Kielce, which has clearly been distinguished as a centre of Jewish Culture, where some 24,000 Jews had been resident there as Hitler’s invading Armies struck Poland, became even more notorious. The vast majority of these Kielce Jews were deported to Treblinka and consigned to their Murderous fate there. Barely 212 Jews returned to Kielce to reclaim their former lives. But even these Jews, who had emerged from hell, could not resume what had been their past lives. As the Jews sought to escape, and they made their way to the Rail station, some of the Jews were cornered by locals and beaten so savagely, reminiscent of the scenes in Kovno, Lithuania, and these distraught Jews did not Survive either.
"..I saw a policeman catch 2 young Jewish boys. He did not shut them in a wagon. ..I was on ..platform ..letting a military transport go through. I asked him to let them go. ..assassin did not even budge. He ordered ..bigger boy to sit down on ..ground and take ..smaller one on his knee ..then he shot them both with one bullet. Turning to me ..You’re lucky ..that was .last bullet. Round ..huge stomach of ..murderer ..a belt ..a clasp ..inscription ..God with us." Franciszeic Zabecki,
Here the Treblinka Station Master writes into Polish history what he recognised was a Polish official acting in accord with Hitler’s demands for the Jewish People. As such, his collaboration confirms what History fully knows, there was indeed collaboration within Poland. In the early afternoon of July 4th. 1946 Regina Fisz was shot, her new born Baby Boy was shot also and though Abram Moszkowicz, who had been taken with them escaped, his body was later found. He had been beaten to death. Included in this catalogue of brutal hatred, a pregnant Jewish Woman, a Jewish Infant, a small Jewish Child, and a number of 16 to 17 year olds shot. The local police too got in on the atrocity by hurling Young Jewish Girls out of the upstairs apartment windows. If they than managed to Survive the fall, they were beaten to death by the non-Jewish Polish crowd below. The lessons from Biblical times too came into stoning to death of a Young Jewish Man.
All in all, some 42 Jews in Kielce were Murdered and more than 100 Jews in Kielce were injured during this rampaging pogrom. In Klementow, 5 Jews were Murdered as Sala Ungerman, who wanted to return Klementow, was counselled by people she knew who informed her not to go back and the resulting Murders by non-Jewish Poles of 5 fellow Surviving Jews there after liberation proved her salvation. She went instead to Lodz, which proved little better for some Surviving Jews. In Kunmadaras, 3 Jews were Murdered and in Lodz, the picture was no better for many Jews who had already Survived so much, and 11 Jews were Murdered.
"..Two Polish women ..raked us with hostile gazes. ..Look ..look ..how many dirty Jews are still alive. And they told us that Hitler had managed to exterminate all of them." Sara Plager Zyskind.
In Losice, on October 27th. 1944, as Surviving Jews settled into a renewed life in Losice a hand grenade was thrown into the property they were occupying. In Lublin, 2 Jews were Murdered and in Mordy, 7 Jews were also Murdered Attacks on Jews returning to Opatow were carried out and in Parczew, 4 Jews were Murdered. In Piaski, 6 Jews were Murdered and in Polaniec, a further 5 Jews were Murdered. In Przemysl, at the beginning of August 1945, leaflets appeared in both Radom and in Przemysl demanding that Jews leave the town before the middle of the month. In Raciaz continued assaults upon the Jews there saw a resolve for many Jews to leave. The story in Radom, was a repetition of what threatened the Jews of Przemysl.
In Rzeszow during June 1945, Polish militia searched Jewish survivors and took them to the police station beating them severely along the way. In Sanok, assaults against Jews were escalating and Skarzysko-Kamienna, 5 Jews were Murdered. In Sokoly, and here this odyssey of mine, in Remembrance of all that was inflicted upon 6,000,000 Murdered Jews has its genesis with the Murder’s of Tokele, included amongst the 9 Survivor’s not allowed to Survive by Polish Murderer’s:
1) Tovah (Tokele, Tolkele, Tulkale, Tulka) Olshak,
2) Shaine (Shaina, Sheine) Olshak,
3) David Zholti (Zholty),
4) Yankele Litwak,
5) Shaikele (Sheike, Yehoshua, Shaikeleh) Litwak,
6) Chaim (Tuvia) Litwak,
7) Shammai Litwak,
8) Batya Weinstein,
9) David Kostshevski (Koschevsky, Koschavsky).
In Sompolno Jews were attacked as they were in Tarnow, and in Turek, 1 Jew was Murdered. In Warsaw the Jewish Survivor could not Survive Polish attempts to deprive them of life. And not even Wlodawa, which knew the extent of Sobibor’s operational remit, escaped the attention of hatred toward the returning Jews. In August, 1945, one thousand elite members of the Polish Peasant Party who gathered at a theatre in Bochnia for a political meeting reacted with thunderous applause to a resolution that proposed to thank Hitler for destroying the Jews and to expel from Poland all those who were still alive. As early as August 11th. 1944, with the establishment of a Polish Central Committee for Surviving Jews, it was clearly recognised the threat the Jewish Survivor was put under.
As Auschwitz and Birkenau raged on in its deliberate offensive against Jewish existence, and the decimation of Hungarian Jewry had all but been completed, attacks upon these Jews grew more frequently deadly. Close to where Sobibor Survivors had sought to resume their lives, in Wlodawa, local Poles began attacking these Jews, incensed at their Survival in the first place and the certain requirement for these Jews to have back what had been their Jewish possessions and property's.
"..purpose ..was to discover ..condition of ..Jews who managed to avoid being sent to death camps and chose to live in hiding. ..individual cases of people who chose to hide. I tried to understand how only very few of those Jews who decided to hide were able to stay alive until 1945," Jan Grabowski.
On August 13th. 1944 The Polish Jewish Central Committee meets to discuss a strategy for relieving the symptoms of antisemitic abuse. Messages were proffered which stated that Jews on their return were to be treated sympathetically, with respect and with the clearest understanding of what they had previously endured.
"..During ..war these relationships became even more hostile. A large segment of ..Polish population was displeased with their neighbours’ help to ..Jews during ..war ..and for many it seemed even as an unpatriotic step. Therefore ..some segments of ..Polish population took an active part in ..hunt for ..Jews." Jan Grabowski.
On September 1st. 1944 A newly created Aid Bureau for the Relief of Polish Jewish Survivors in Poland recognises its challenge. Surviving Jews are both collectively traumatised by their own experience and knowledge of what little remains of their 3,000,000 Murdered Jewish Community, but they now have to deal with threats and violence, theft and murder from the Poles who must have known Hitler’s clear intention.
"..I think that when you look at ..international community ..then ..Polish society seems to have done ..most in terms of attempting to reconcile with ..Polish-Jewish past. ..Polish intellectuals are ready to re-examine ..past." Jan Grabowski.
As a matter of routine, Jewish bodies are found where they were killed on a weekly basis all through the months of 1945 and no amount of denial has been entered into any plea to show this did not happen. For any Surviving Jew faced with such scenes it is hard to argue with them that Poland was not a welcoming land for the Surviving Jew. Seeing scenes like this must have confirmed for the Survivor that Poland indeed was a land filled with hatred standing aloft the bodies, the ash, the cremated remains of in excess of 4,500,000 Jews from all over Europe.
"..I was grateful for them ..but I was afraid of them because they were constantly demeaning me ..and threatening me ..and telling me what a terrible thing I did to come there to cause them that kind of problem. ..That's what she constantly said to us ..My sister and I.
'If ..Germans catch you ..you are going to say who helped you and they are going to kill us.'
So it was a dichotomy of things. ..She wanted to help but she wanted rid of us ..she couldn't get rid of us." Aaron Elster.
Aaron Elster points toward Sokolow-Podlaski and history cannot detain a lie and as Poland has passed a law(sic), which seeks to ascribe to those who subscribe to an accusation that the Polish people or the Polish state shared some responsibility for any form of collaboration in the terms of The Holocaust, this will besought out an unlawful act. This is wholly egregious. Surely Historical evidence has provided enough to show what the Polish state as much as the Polish people know, that they all must be fully aware of, that not all Poles fully resisted Hitler's efforts. Both Zofia Kossak-Szczucka and Wanda Krahelska-Filipowicz who established The Council for Aid to Polish Jews, better known as Zegota, were all too well aware of the lack of uniformity in how Poles sought to salvage some form of respect as their Jewish neighbours were being abandoned to the annihilation they had fully recognised was being enacted.
"..plague of extortion developed into a public evil endangering every Jew on ..Aryan side. ..extortionists stripped their victims of their every last possession and forced them to flee for their lives." Emanuel Ringelblum.
Why would history then seek to judiciously accuse some Poles for colluding with Hitler and the Nazi's over the savagery and brutalising destruction of their Jewish Neighbours. We truly need to grasp that Hitler fully implemented all that Hitler's Reich sought to accomplish with regards The Final Solution, in Poland and in the wider Europe. To suggest as unlawful the fact that some Poles acted wilfully to detain and assign Jews to their fate is a deceit which further compounds a grave wrong. My work does not allow for the mealy mouthed attempts by any government, let alone a Polish one which should know better, to sully the integral effort of History to define the truth.
"..born November 15th. 1925 ..a ..10 year old little girl. I recall on Easter how ..Poles were coming out of ..Church full of scorn and anger at us ..cursed Jews ..for killing Jesus their God and Saviour. We stayed indoors till Easter was over. ..Marszalek Pilsudskl died in 1935 ..start of our gehenna (hell)." Natalie Scharf.
Fault is where fault lies and while there are people painstakingly trying to balance Hitler's grave wrong against the Jews of Poland, with the certainty that some Poles collaborated that effort, the truth will not be denied. History does not admonish Poland and the Polish people for establishing a collaborative pact with Hitler against the Jewish People. That is an untruth and as such would be wrong. But please do not allow for the Righteous nature of some Poles to cloud the issue that other Poles did not serve Humanity well. The Polish government of the time absconded from responsibility for its people, 6 million of whom lost their lives, 3,000,000 of which were Polish Jews systematically Slaughtered. The Righteous Few within Poland are a recorded few. All those other Poles who acted morally, did so as a response to their own ethically engendered and compassionate nature. Also, we will find that more righteous Poles go unrecorded as a consequence of their fellow neighbours personal objection to them having saved their Jewish neighbours.
"..I didn't want to go back to Poland. Poles were killing a lot of Jews who returned to claim property ..homes ..other possessions. My Parents were dead. There was nothing to go back to." Bianca Lerner.
Both Bianca Lerner's Parents were Murdered, with her Mother taken to Treblinka and no miscarriage of justice will ever serve the Righteous Memory for the 6,000,000 Murdered Jews, who are The Holocaust. I get the righteous indignation. I guess I can somehow appreciate the anger and even understand the hatred, though it should be pointed at those clearly responsible. For me it is easy to be objective from outside the close quartered affront and outrage to Jewish persistence The Holocaust presents. It is rather more difficult for the Survivor seeking to accuse, or the descendent seeking to blame those, Estonians, French, Latvian's, Lithuanians, Poles or Ukrainians or any other national grouping who even slightly assisted in any way toward delivering Hitler's prime objective toward The Final Solution. Betrayal was a common theme in each and every Country occupied by Hitler's legions and each Country's Jewish Community became a commodity to be bartered over and handed to the German occupiers.
"..Poles ..who despite ..negative image of Jews and ..enormous pressure from their relatives took a huge risk in hiding them. It is undeniable that certain things have happened but you must understand ..atmosphere in which it happened." Jan Grabowski.
But lest we forget, The Righteous Amongst Nations accords an enormous debt to so many Poles who, despite the threat to themselves and even their own Family's and Community’s, they rose above personal interest in many cases to act with honour. That Poles acted with integrity, compassion and the moral appreciation for the sanctity of all life, has been fully recorded. Right at this moment though, Poland is seeking to abolish the accusation of collaboration from its own History, when History in fact knows all too well the established Fact that some Poles did collude with their Nazi master's. But let me also suggest that it was only in Poland where the ability to assist a Jew was equipped with a reprisal action that would devour them and then their entire Family and whole Community’s. So we have to measure the accusation correctly, and level it with certainty and toward those who are guilty.
"..On ..one hand there were extraordinarily brave Poles who risked their lives to save Jews ..and on ..other hand there was no great love between Poles and Jews before World War II." Jan Grabowski.
No one should doubt the achievement of the Righteous, either here in Poland or wherever we meet them. Theirs is an exemplary orchestration of human courage and moral probity. But for those who seek to pave the way toward seeing all in the same light, while diffusing what must be shone upon those darker deeds, such an effort lessens the impact righteous effort must have upon us all. History does not calibrate itself in a broader spectrum than what is truth and what can be proved to be truthful. To elect to add a correction which opens truth to interpretation is a denial of the fundamental integrity we must all seek. The Holocaust is an incredible array of Truths, Facts, Testimonies and Evidences. None of these are open to conjecture. They stand alone as pillars upon which society must build bridges with the past to form the consequences we seek for our future. I struggled hard with the inclusion of this last statement as it was made by a very fine, dogged and committed researcher, Gerald Reitlinger. He taught me the way forward on my journey to The Holocaust and in many ways still does. But if I was to read these words of his again, I would know the Historical error in what he states would be as mine was, a geographical assessment which placed all x6 Death Camps established by Hitler in German occupied Poland, as just that, a geographical Fact that does not allude to anything other than what it is.
"..Apart from ..gassings in Auschwitz and ..Polish death camps ..more than 1,000,000 Jews must have died by ..firing squads or during round ups in ..ghettos. Auschwitz ..in spite of its immense symbolic significance ..probably contributed less that 1/5th. of ..victims." Gerald Reitlinger.
We are always going to get those with noxious views, hate filled agendas and discriminatory beliefs to give their rowdy point of view in order to get to the front of the pack. They usually are the most loud and certainly have the biggest wrongs to issue. But we have a factor which counters all such irrelevance’s. We have Truth, the integrity of it and the Fact that Tolerance is more worthy of humanity than not! The greater part of why I choose to Remember that 6,000,000 Jews were brutally Murdered is to recall and preserve their memory and to also know those we accuse of their systematic slaughter. In that, we attribute all accusations against only those the 6,000,000 would condemn and damn for their deeds in enacting such an atrocity. This accusation cannot ever be applied to any of those whose innocence in the crimes we know as The Holocaust is recognised and this Fact cannot ever be denied. Let the Polish government know what was accomplished on its soil. How and where this was achieved has been catalogued and when x2 escapees from Auschwitz detailed to the World what Birkenau meant, the World prepared itself to do nothing, for which this Polish government seeks to further disclaim. How then can we know the fuller Truth when we can dispute the evidence of some who know. The Auschwitz Report carries a stark warning and all that any previous inactivity allowed for:
"..Cautious estimate of ..number of Jews gassed in Birkenau ..April 1942 and April 1944 ..by Country of origin:
by truck 300,000
by train 600,000
Camps for Foreign Jews in Poland 300,000
Total 1,765,000." Rudolf Vrba and Alfred Wetzler.
What these 1,765,000 Gassed and Murdered Jews suggest, an achievement in this short space of time reflects that we just might have underestimated the total Jewish cost at Birkenau. If that is equally true, where ever poison gas or a bullet, brutality or atrocity met with the Jews of Europe, History cannot reliably settle upon a figure we give as a representative fact for 6,000,000 Jewish losses alone. Thus, when we face up to the consequences of at least some Polish collaboration, perhaps an infamous and well known Nazi report has so much more to state about the undeniable fact that some Poles did collaborate, collude or give assistance to the Reich against Poland. What SS Brigadefuhrer Stroops stresses in The Warsaw Jewish Quarter is no more on May 16th. 1943 more than suggests close co-ordination and collaboration existed between Reich and the administers of the Slaughter to strike the Jews here in Poland.
"..For ..Fuhrer and ..Country. ..following killed in action during destruction of Jews ..in ..former Jewish quarter ..Warsaw. ..Polish Police Sergeant Julian Zielinski ..carrying out his duties. ..Units used ..Polish Police 4 officers 363 men. Polish Fire Brigade 166 men. ..Officers ..men of ..Police ..proved themselves. ..Polish police ..authorised to turn over to any Polish policeman ..one third of ..Jews cash ..property. ..Polish population ..welcomed ..measures taken against ..Jews." SS Brigadefuhrer Jurgen Stroop.